Kelly E. Wright


Watch a quick clip from the Q&A of the Oxford English Dictionary panel on Language Prejudice and the Documentation of the Minoritizied Varieties of English 

Watch a quick clip from a consultation for an international news outlet


I am an Experimental Sociolinguist, Lexicographer, and Ph.D. Candidate at the University of Michigan. I expect to graduate with a doctorate in Linguistics May 2022.


I approach the project of disabling institutional racism by gathering data across a number of domains; I fight with fact, ever-confident in the overwhelming power of empirical validity. I apply mixed methodologies, including:

machine learning 

network analysis 

massive text and metadata corpora mining

from the historical print record, in real time and over time,

perceptualcognitive, and psycholinguistic experimentation inside the laboratory,


ethnographic and sociolinguistic fieldwork out in the world.  


Currently, I am researching perceptions of Black professionalism, both within the community through my own, newly developed, metalinguistic method for sociolinguistic interview and in the population at large through sociophonetic experimentation.


In press at Language is a project on linguistic profiling in the housing market, looking specifically at how property managers perceive racial and regional identities, link those percepts to character traits, and how those ideas about speakers shape access and opportunity for minorities.


Previously, my research has examined Language Planning & Policy; reification of racist ideology through popular print media; and Sociosemantic Field development and change over time.

I am currently serving as Co-Editor of American Speech's Among The New Words column; as The American Dialect Society's New Words Committee's Data Czar; as a member of the Oxford English Dictionary Researchers Advisory Group; & as a Linguistic Society of American Media Liaison. I served for three years as Editor's Assistant for the journal Language.

I also serve on two steering committees:

NARNiHS (The North American Research Network in Historical Sociolinguistics), which works to increase the visibility of Historical Sociolinguistics as a discipline and the connectedness of researchers in North America. 

UMLanguage Matters (The University of Michigan Linguistic Diversity Initiative), an interdisciplinary initiative working to increase recognition of the role of linguistic diversity plays on our campus by creating linguistically inclusive classrooms for speakers, writers, and signers.